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Video Game / OutRun

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Hope tire smoke doesn't make you cough.

"Experience the utmost in road racing realism."

A driving game first to hit the arcades in 1986, OutRun amounts to a time-attack Speed Run. You, a manly man in his Ferrarinote , start at the start line, and Race Against the Clock to a Checkpoint at the end of the stage. You are accompanied by a token female passenger, who presumably was attracted solely by the horsepower. Along the way, you must avoid other motorists and assorted roadside obstacles, lest you crash in a variety of entertaining ways. Just before that checkpoint, the road forks into two, and each fork will allow you to access a differently-themed area; generally, the right-facing path is more difficult than the left-facing one. Get through five stages, and you reach the finish line. Depending on the route you take (and the final stage you reach), you'll get Multiple Endings.

The game was successful enough to get itself ported to the Sega Genesis (and pretty much everything else of the same generation as the Genesis), and spawned lots of sequels. They all follow the same formula, though several of them add an opponent to race against in addition to the clock and standard traffic.

To date, the series goes as follows:

This series contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The lady in the passenger seat gets her backstory explained in the OutRun 2 song "Life was a Bore."
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: In the original game, the prancing horse on the car always matches the direction you're driving.
  • Arcade-Perfect Port: Technically, only two are exactly perfect: the Sega Saturn version in the "SEGA Ages" line, and the version included with the Xbox release of OutRun 2. Consoles released prior to the Saturn weren't powerful enough to perfectly emulate the game, while later ports, like the otherwise faithful 3DS and Switch versions, modify the car to look less like a Testarossa.
  • Arrange Mode:
    • The SEGA Ages 2600 version of the original OutRun features an mode where the stage map is shaped like a diamond rather than a pyramid: For the first half of the game, each stage end has a 2-way fork, but at the halfway stage the stage branching starts to collapse until you reach the same final stage no matter which set of stages you took up to that point.
    • OutRun 2's derivatives include a "15-stage Continuous Mode", where instead of playing five stages of a course and selecting the next one via a fork in the road, the player instead drives through all 15 stages of the chosen course in a pre-determined order. The aforementioned forks in the road still exist, but now both lead to the same location.
    • OutRun 2 also has Heart Attack Mode, where your passenger gives you missions to complete like passing cars, drifting through turns, keeping the car within a highlighted zone, and the like. Performing these missions well will earn you hearts that act as the mode's points and letter grades. Doing well will result in Special Request missions that are worth lots of hearts.
  • Artistic License Physics: The totally absurd ability to powerslide from OutRun 2 onwards. It makes Ridge Racer and Need for Speed: Underground look like totally Serious Business driving simulators.
  • Artistic License Space: The "Milky Way" stage has a background of a night sky dotted all over with stars, even though the light pollution from the city should make most of them invisible.
  • A Winner Is You: One of the first prominent example of averting this, consistently since the first game due to it have multiple finish paths, however played straight in the Dolled-Up Installment OutRun 2019.
  • Bowdlerise: Clarissa from OutRun 2006 had her outfit censored in certain regions, covering up her plunging cleavage with a tube top underneath her Hawaiian shirt.
  • The Bus Came Back: In OutRun 2, aside from the Testarossa debuted in the original, the Ferrari F40 returns from Turbo OutRun. And both were also fully-licensed along with other Ferraris.
  • The Cameo: Orta and her dragon make an unexpected one in 2 SP and following versions if players can get through two courses without colliding with anything.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Inasmuch as "canon" can get with a driving game. Battle OutRun, OutRun Europa, and OutRun 2019 are excluded from the official 20th anniversary music collection, meaning they aren't considered proper installments in the series.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Played straight with OutRun 2. The game was followed by 2 SP, 2 SP SDX, 2006: Coast 2 Coast, 2 SP again, and finally Online Arcade.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: If you don't move at all in the original, the flag man starts gesturing at the driver to move on. After a while, he turns his back to the driver in exasperation. In OutRun 2 he also alternates between stretching his limbs and dancing the Moonwalk.
  • Cool Car: The first game had you drive a Ferrari Testarossa convertible. Later games had you drive any of a variety of cars - primarily Ferraris, and dodging out of the way of slower regular everyday cars like VW Beetles, etc.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: The track ladies from OutRun 2006 to varying degrees off showing their midriff.
  • Death Is Cheap: Crashes are cheap. If you crash, the game resets you after a few seconds. Even if your car barrel-rolled several times and you were thrown out of it onto the asphalt and an obstacle car ran over your head. Just keep in mind that a couple of crashes is all you need to lose the game.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the route A ending, a group of men lift up the player character as a response to his accomplishment, but then a woman in a bikini shows up and they move to her, dropping him in the process.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: OutRun 2019 was meant to be named something else (Junker's High), but renamed to fit the OutRun series as it has similar gameplay. As such, it lacks the series' most prominent features such as the Ferrari or the couple as protagonist.
  • Drives Like Crazy: A series trademark. Your passenger doesn't care unless you crash.
  • Driving Stick: Massively simplified gearbox with two options: Low gear and High gear. OutRunners also had cars with 3 or more speed, but the way you shift pretty much amounts to pushing the up/down lever until you reach the gear you want. OutRun 2 has 5 or 6-speed manual gearboxes depending on the car, but all share the same up/down functionality (similar to Initial D Arcade Stage games before Zero); to make things simple, it also includes an option for automatic transmission.
  • Embedded Precursor: The Xbox version of OutRun 2 includes the original arcade game as an unlockable.
  • Fauxrrari: The first game didn't have official licensing from Ferrari (that would happen beginning with Scud Race), despite using everything about the Testarossa's styling, up to and including the prancing horse logo on the back; re-releases of the game usually replace the Testarossa with a similar yet generic Ferrari expy. The cars were fully licensed in OutRun 2 and its derivatives.
  • Game Within a Game: The original OutRun appears in Yakuza 0 as a fully playable game. Prior to that it was also available as an arcade game in Shenmue II.
  • I Want My Jetpack: OutRun 2019. Real-world 2019 came and went and we still don't have near-supersonic rocket cars that you can take onto public roads.
  • Logo Joke: The Genesis version of OutRunners has Sonic and Tails, each in their own version of the Tornado, skywriting the Sega logo, which then splits into two copies to accommodate the game's split-screen presentation.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The high score music, "Last Wave", only plays for about half its duration in the arcade games, as there's a time limit. The full song plays on the console versions.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Turbo OutRun has you race against a rival throughout 16 courses continuously. But a saving grace happens after every four stages in which you get a "pit stop" with upgrades being applied to your car before proceeding.
    • The "15-stage Continuous" mode in OutRun 2's derivatives. Running 15 stages in rearranged order doesn't take 15 minutes to finish if you're skilled however. But even for a Ferrari road car, this is tedious. And unlike Turbo OutRun, no pit stops were given.
  • Mayincatec: The Legend stage in OutRun 2006 combines in one single place the Olmec heads in the state of Tabasco, the atlantes of Tula, Hidalgo, the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichén-Itzá, Yucatán, the Major Temple in the heart of downtown Mexico City, and the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán just north from Mexico City; all these ruins are no less than 300 km apart from each other, and yet they appear mashed together in the same stage.
  • Multiple Endings: One of the first to implement this, in defiance of A Winner Is You prevalent in arcade games back then:
    • Depending on the route you pick. Results can range from the driver (or the passenger) being given a trophy to the car just falling to bits.
    • OutRunners has one ending for each tag team you pick, independent of the route.
    • OutRun 2 returns to form with new endings rendered in 3D. And, true to form, they can be hilarious (especially routes A and E).
    • Averted with OutRun 2019, which has only one ending, which is your car speeding under the backdrop of outer space instead of cities.
  • Nintendo Hard: Since most games' single-player modes don't have any opponent cars, your true opponent is the harsh time limit. If you crash even once, you've already lost.
  • Pinball Scoring: The score counter goes up very quickly in the original game, about 30,000 points per second at top speed. Completing the game awards 1,000,000 points per second remaining on the clock.
  • Product Placement: In addition to the official Ferrari license (which came with a boatload of other Ferrari stuff beyond the selectable vehicles such as unlockable fact cards documenting all sorts of Ferrari things from other Ferrari cars to Ferrari parts, all of which include a URL to Ferrari's website), OutRun 2 also features billboards for AMD, Vodafone, Bridgestone tires, Olympus cameras, and Shell gasoline. These were the sponsors for Ferrari's Formula One team at that time.
  • Race Against the Clock: The gameplay style. If time runs out, you lose. You win simply by making it to the end without running out of time.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Inverted. The Enzo Ferrari in OutRun 2 suffered from Power Creep, Power Seep, maxing out at 182 MPH (295 kmh), but in real life it's been clocked to over 220 MPH (354 kmh).
  • Recycled In Space: OutRun 2019 is OutRun IN THE FUTURE!
  • Respawn on the Spot: Whenever your car crashes and rolls out of the road, it comes back fixed at the cost of a few seconds.
  • Retraux: The 3DS and Switch ports of the first game have new music composed with the same soundchip as the original arcade board. Notably, one of the songs in the Switch port is a 16-bit version of "Radiation", a song from OutRun 2006.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: In later games. OutRun 2 has a Slipstreaming mechanic that can reinforce this.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The original game had lots of varied scenery, which looked pretty spiffy for the 16-bit era.
    • OutRunners is no slouch either, building on the style of the first game with some great spritework.
    • Come OutRun 2 and its updated re-releases, the stages look lifelike and absolutely gorgeous.
  • Scoring Points:
    • Like many driving games, you continuously gain points as you drive, and get a big bonus based on time left if you reach the goal.
    • In OutRun 2, you gain points for passing traffic cars, and even more for passing rivals, but hitting a car will reduce the bonus you get from passing it. There's also Heart Attack mode, a special mode where your passenger gives you various missions (such as passing cars, passing through gates, and drifting along a path) and completing these missions rewards you with hearts and letter grades.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: While the original OutRun isn't set in a specific place (though implied to be a condensed Europe), Turbo is set in Eagleland and OutRunners is a world rally.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the original OutRun's "B" ending, when the car reaches the finish line and the couple steps out, it instantly falls apart in the same manner as the car in The Blues Brothers.
    • One of the roadside advertisements in the original game features an image of the biker from Hang-On, with the tagline "World Champion KTM" — referring to the motorcycle company who had won multiple motocross championships by that point. In the 3DS and Switch ports, "KTM" is replaced with "M2", a Creator Cameo for the porting team.
    • After every fourth stage in Turbo OutRun is completed, a remixed version of Fantasy Zone's shopping music plays as the player chooses a new part for their car.
    • One of the new songs in the Switch version is "Driver's Megamix Vol. 1," which is a simultaneous reference to "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Sega's crossover fighter Fighters Megamix.
  • Synthwave: The Trope Namer for "OutRun" music, due to how its chiptune soundtrack has the kind of 80s synth vibe that characterizes synthwave. The Switch version of the game plays on this by including an actual synthwave song: "Driver's Megamix Vol. 1".
  • Thrill Seeker: According to the song "Life Was a Bore", this is why the woman next to the driver is in the car - it was the first thing in her life that was genuinely exciting, and now she lives to see what wild road he drives down next.
  • Timed Mission: In the original game, your only real enemy is the clock. You start with fifty seconds and gain more at each checkpoint. If you run out, you're done. Once you reach the end of your route, you gain an extra million points for each second you have left.
  • Unit Confusion: In OutRun 2019, the units are messed up. In the North American version, the HUD displays "MPH" next to your speed, and in other versions it's kmh instead; par for the course. But the only version that gets the units correct is the European version, in which your car has a max speed of 692 kmh; the North American version shows 692 MPH, and the Japanese version shows 341 kmh.
  • V8 Engine Noises: Every single Ferrari in OutRun 2 and its subsequent releases emit a NASCAR-like V8 engine note, not unlike the stock cars from Daytona USA. The problem? Not all of the cars in-game are powered by a V8 (There's the V6-powered Dino, and the V12-powered 365/4 Daytona and Enzo), and those that are V8 powered would not emit the same sound as an American V8 due to differences in the type of crankshaft used (Ferrari uses flat-plane crankshafts for their V8 engines. The typical American V8 engine, including those used in NASCAR, use a cross-plane crankshaft).
  • Vanity License Plate: The box-art above shows OutRun as the license plate. You'd think that number plate would catch the attention of the local police. OutRun 2 onwards followed a formula of MO (Modena, the Italian city where Ferrari is headquartered) followed by some letters and numbers referring to the car and/or its engine (MO 512 TR for the 5-liter, 12-cylinder powered Testarossa).
  • What the Hell, Player?: Crashing often results in your passenger flipping out at you. In OutRun 2, this is accompanied by a scathing comment about your driving abilities.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The 3DS and Switch versions of OutRun redesign the car's back to look less like Ferrari due to licensing issues (which also resulted in OutRun Online Arcade being delisted from online stores).